Due to a number of reasons, such as a pandemic or severe weather conditions, schools and districts may have to close. This may leave students, staff and parents worried about how school will continue.
We have put together 5 useful tips for teachers to move their classes online as quickly as possible so that students can learn from their homes.1. Plan your classes
Your students are not physically in front of you and gone are the days where improvising will cut it. Planning is essential for an online classroom environment. Be sure to have your syllabus and materials laid out clearly before class starts. This will give students an opportunity to see if your classroom (the deadlines, materials, and other requirements) can fit into their lives.
The biggest thing, avoid surprises at all costs. Saying, “Surprise! Pop quiz” in a physical classroom is entirely different from posting “Surprise! Pop quiz! Due by midnight.” in an online classroom.
2. Set up an adequate working environment
Working remotely is the next challenge. Without the perfect environment and a good amount of self discipline, your job can become more difficult. With a little planning, this can be avoided. Firstly, set up a workspace. If possible, this space should be intended for work only.
You want this space to be friendly and inviting, but also encourage productive work behavior. Keep your work environment free of distractions like television, other family members, or household chores. Natural lighting and an ergonomic chair can go a long way in setting up your ideal work environment.
3. Communicate often, clearly, and consistently
Maintain a consistent online presence. Communication is essential in the online classroom environment. Help bring humanity and warmth into your classroom that online classes can easily lack. Make sure your students know the best methods and times to contact you.
Not having a teacher physically in front of them can make some students nervous. Try to ease this by answering questions in a timely manner and providing plenty of instruction and feedback.
4. Motivate your students
Everyone learns differently and motivation plays a big part in the learning process. While some students are self-motivated in that learning something new is all the motivation they may need, some students may not be. Think of ways to motivate all of your students to get the most out of your class. This may include giving extra points for online discussions or optional assignments.
Deadlines may also help push forward your more unmotivated students. Your goal is to find ways to help your students get the most out of your class without the benefit that a physical presence brings.
5. Innovate and stimulate discussions
Online classrooms run differently than traditional classrooms and have the potential to feel cold and mechanical. Initiating and encouraging discussions can go a long way in terms of how your students feel in class. Encourage participation, much like you would in class.
There are many ways you can do this from discussions to posting lectures, to assigning reading material, to monitoring progress. You want your students involved on a daily basis as opposed to just turning in assignments and completing homework.